Anna von Boetticher lived in many places all around the world: Madrid, New York, London, … She studied literature and theater in Munich. Today she lives in Berlin, where she and her mom run a bookstore. In May 2019, she’ll even publish her first book “In die Tiefe” (Into the Deep), in which she talks about her greatest passion: Freediving.
Since 2013, she trusts in the FitLine products before and after her dives into depth of the deep blue ocean. She finds the products perfect for faster regeneration, better focus and optimum supply of nutrients.
Yes, among all the things mentioned above, Anna is also an extreme athlete. She can hold her breath for up to 6 minutes(!), diving 100 meters deep, with only one breath of air. The deeper you descend, the more your lungs are compressed, until they’re about the size of an apple. Anna accomplishes top performances with 25% smaller lung volume than under normal air pressure. She broke 33 national records, one world record and won three World Championship bronze medals, she’s Germany’s most successful free diver. Upon being asked what fascinates her about the depths of the earth’s oceans, she likes to quote James Cameron, director of Titanic: “Because it fills my heart with wonder.”
In our interview, she talks about the fascination and risks of free diving and about how we all (too often) limit ourselves, rather than reaching for our dreams.
1. You started diving when you were 17 years old – back then with oxygen support. Today, at 48, you only take one breath before submerging into the deep. Why?
I wanted to gain some experience in free diving, to get to know myself and my body better and to someday be able to keep my cool better in a non-air-situation. I’m fascinated to see how I can adjust my body and mind to an environment underwater. To be there without fear or stress and to experience the surroundings intensely, is an experience of a lifetime.
2. Few people can say that they’ve had the opportunity to swim 100 meters below the sea level. What does the world look like down there? Do sharks or other sea creatures ever cross your path?
Most of the people assume that life at 100 meters below sea level is dark, cold, and terrible and that I suffer incredible pain, staying there at my own risk. Truth is, that the water in which I dive this deep, is so clear that I can still read the depth gauge. The temperature down there is around 24/25C°. There’s no stress, no pain, no fear, and I enjoy taking everything in. And yes, you do see fish down there. Once there was even a shark that circled the lines close to the surface for more than an hour during a competition – an incredibly beautiful experience.
3. Where is your favorite place to dive?
One of my favorite diving sites is the Red Sea with its diverse colorful corals and fishes, but I generally like diversity and I constantly am on the lookout for new extreme adventures – One of my all-time favorite experiences, was diving with orcas and humpback whales, surrounded by the winter darkness, snow and ice in Arctic Norway back in November. And I gladly remember one of my most memorable adventures so far: In December I embarked on what may have been the biggest journey of my life: I went diving in Antarctica.
4. Extreme sport free diving: What can go wrong? Have you ever gotten into real danger?
The worst thing that can happen while free diving is falling unconscious. Similar to crashing while skiing, there’s no guarantee it won’t ever hit you. Even I have fainted before, but I was properly secured and pulled out of the water immediately.
Unconsciousness, in itself, isn’t the thing to be afraid of. You wake up again quickly, once your partner has taken you back up to the surface. However, if you lose consciousness and nobody is there to save you – no matter where, even in the bathtub – you drown. That means: Never do this by yourself!
5. Free diving differs from other high-performance sports because you can still be successful at the age of 40 or 50. At 48, you’re the best example. Why do you think that is?
For one I think it’s because free diving requires a lot of mental strength. On the other hand, I think it’s because we’re convinced that certain types of sport can’t be done anymore at a certain age. Most athletes begin their career at a very young age, and after a decade or two they’ve had enough. However, we also repeatedly see exceptional cases – a Japanese athlete, who’s over 40, is still among the world’s best ski jumpers. Even endurance sports like marathons and triathlons often have older athletes running at the head of the pack.
I’ve also noticed that I am more effective and fitter today than I was at the age of 20. You shape your own reality and by telling yourself often enough that you’re too old and not as good as you used to be, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I convinced myself of the contrary – over time, my experience and the feeling for my body, compensate for other shortcomings. Whenever you realize that you start making excuses for yourself, about how you can’t do something, or don’t have the time, or you’re not fit enough… just stop what you’re doing and do the exact opposite. Do sports, make time to start something new, give something a shot from what you think you’re incapable of. That’s where you’ll have the biggest potential to grow and growing is fun!
6. Which FitLine products do you use? How do they support your sport?
I use Basics, Q10, Basen Plus and Restorate. They help me to absorb the vitamins and minerals I don’t always get enough of in my diet. Especially regeneration after training is important. CrossFit, which I like to do to keep in shape, as well as free diving cause intensive physical exertion. It’s important for me to be able to trust in the products and use them easily.